The second half of our blog into the world’s greatest marathons takes us to exotic Asia, to China and Japan plus also Europe and ancient Greece. We start at one of the few man-made structures that can be seen from outer space, namely the Great Wall of China.
Jinshanling Great Wall Marathon
The Jinshanling Great Wall marathon is more of an endurance race than a true battle of running times. You will find that you are spending more time running up and down steps than truly racing, as the wall undulates greatly along the marathon route. In some places this ancient structure is so narrow that runners have to wait to pass through, which really is not great as you must try to keep moving so your muscles do not seize. By undertaking this fantastic marathon, you will have achieved fantastic bragging rights when you get home, after all how many people do you know that have run the Jinshanling Great Wall marathon?
It is fitting that the home of the Olympics should make it onto our list as one of the world’s greatest marathon races. History abounds in Athens where the ancient ancestors of all sportsmen first competed. The marathon race is meant to be named after a soldier named Pheidippides who was a messenger for the Athenian Army during the battles of Marathon. The route is not quite what you would expect and in some places quite drab, but the final climax running through the heart of Athens is spectacular. The race concludes at the Kallimarmaro stadium, and it was at this very stadium that the modern Olympics were first hosted in 1896. The Athens marathon is a testament not to just running, but recognizes Athens place in the world as the forefather of all sport.
Another of the main marathon circuits in the world, where times are taken seriously by recognized athletes. Japan’s affinity to marathons dates back to Ekiden, which is an ancient long-distance race. Tokyo has only been on the world stage as a host to the marathon for around 20 years, but its popularity has rapidly grown into one of the major marathon races of the world. Last year the Tokyo marathon had an estimated three hundred thousand runners, that came from all over the globe to compete. Tokyo might be comparatively new, but it has risen in the ranks to a major.
The Rome marathon is possibly the most picturesque of any marathon in the world, the Eternal City plays host to the great race and the course passes through some of the planet’s most famous buildings. The Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City all are on the arduous route, it seems as though the organizers deliberately made the route one of the finest tours to see ancient Rome. Every corner that is turned brings another breathtaking vista, be sure to take your camera if you decide to run the Rome marathon.
That concludes our trip around the world to see some of the greatest marathons, it has taken us to Africa, Asia, Europe and North America and has featured some incredible routes.